Diamond Head Crater - Things to do on Oahu
November 4, 2020
| by
Jana Free

Oahu Things to Do: Guide to Hiking Diamond Head Crater

Diamond Head Crater is an Oahu attraction that appears atop many Oahu visitors’ ‘must experience’ lists, for good reason. This awesome natural landmark offers striking beauty and great adventure in one. Learn about why you should hike Diamond Head Crater on your next visit to Oahu.

These are unusual times we find ourselves living in, with restrictions being put in place and lifted with little notice, so please be sure to confirm operating hours before visiting any of the attractions or venues mentioned in this article.

Diamond Head Crater is an unmistakable fixture on Waikiki’s eastern coastal end. Towering over the beach and the city, it is a striking natural landmark that serves as a beautiful backdrop for a memorable Oahu vacation. This Oahu Travel Guide article introduces you to Diamond Head Crater, the impressive and easily recognizable Oahu attraction, and it offers tips for hiking Diamond Head.

Our latest Oahu Travel Guide article, ‘Guide to Hiking Diamond Head Crater,’ tells you about why you should hike Diamond Head Crater and it offers tips for your visit.

Diamond Head Crater
Location: Eastern edge of Waikiki, Hawaii 
Website
Cost: Residents (no charge with ID), Non-Residents ($5 per individual, $10 per vehicle) Cash Only
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 3.7 miles

History of Diamond Head Crater:

Diamond Head Crater is Hawaii’s most recognized landmark. Known for its hiking trail that leads to stunning coastal views, Diamond Head encompasses more than 475 acres including the interior and outer slopes of the crater.

Known officially as Diamond Head State Monument, the natural landmark formed roughly 300,000 years ago when a single explosive eruption sent fine particles and ash into the air. When the materials settled, they were molded together into a type of rock called tuff. These particles created the crater, which much later, in the 1800s to 1900s, became home to wildlife and vegetation.

The trail to the summit of Diamond Head was built in 1908. It was to be a part of Oahu’s coastline defense system and it is a .8-mile hike from trailhead to summit. The hike is steep and arduous. Diamond Head’s trail ascends 560 feet from the crater floor, but it is a special hike that offers glimpses into the geological and military history of Oahu.

Diamond Head Crater is an unmistakable fixture on Waikiki’s eastern coastal end. Towering over the beach and the city, it is a striking natural landmark that serves as a beautiful backdrop for a memorable Oahu vacation.

Facts About Hiking Diamond Head Crater:

  • Nearly 1 million visitors hike Diamond Head Crater annually
  • An average of 2,500 hikers make it to the top of Diamond Head each day
  • The park where Diamond Head is located is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
  • Diamond Head got its name in the 1820s when crews from British ships discovered crystalized calcite on the crater and thought it was diamonds
  • Diamond Head is known to the locals as Le’Ahi, meaning ‘brow of the tuna fish’
  • The top of Diamond Head Crater is 760 feet above sea level

Tips for Hiking Diamond Head Crater:

  • Diamond Head Crater’s trail is a concrete walkway that transitions to a natural tuff surface in order to reduce erosion. It features many switchbacks that traverse the steep slope and the crater interior.
  • If you ascend Diamond Head’s trail, you will have to hike up many stairs and through a lighted 225-foot tunnel. As you exit the tunnel, you will see a Fire Control Station that was built in 1911 as well as several bunkers and a huge lighthouse constructed in 1917.

Here are some tips for getting the most of your hike on the Diamond Head Crater trail:

  • The last entrance to the trail is at 4:30 p.m. (gates lock officially at 6:00 p.m. daily and all visitors must be out of the park at this time)
  • The best view from Diamond Head is from the Fire Control Station area (you may be able to see the shoreline, from Kok Head to Waianae, as well as passing humpback whales)
  • No pets are allowed in the park, except for service animals
  • Bring good walking shoes or hiking boots for this long and strenuous hike
  • The Diamond Head Crater hike is not a beginner’s hike, so contact our concierge if you are looking for an easy hike especially a hike for children

We hope our latest Oahu Travel Guide article, ‘Guide to Hiking Diamond Head Crater,’ provides you with some inspiration to enjoy a thrilling hike up Diamond Head and offers you helpful tips on what to expect at this top Oahu attraction.

Visit our Oahu Travel Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting Oahu.

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